Barking people join campaign to fight A&E closure

PLANS to halt the closure of the A&E and labour wards at King George Hospital have gathered pace after health professionals voted to go ahead with the controversial proposals.

Health for North East London (HFNEL), which devised the proposals, says GPs are behind the plans to close services at the hospital, in Barley Lane, Goodmayes – something which campaigners contest.

The changes mean the projected 3,099 births which would have happened at King George by 2017 will be shifted mainly to Queen’s Hospital, Romford.

King George will be left with a 24/7 urgent care centre and short care assessment facilities, while more serious cases will be transferred to Queen’s, the Royal London in Whitechapel and Whipps Cross Hospital in Walthamstow.

Dr Mike Gill, joint clinical director for HFNEL and medical director and consultant geriatrician at Newham University Hospital NHS Trust, said: “We understand people have concerns but it is vitally important that everyone understands that these changes will be phased over the next five years and we are not planning a big bang approach.”

But Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, could be asked to step into the battle to keep services after Redbridge Council called an emergency meeting to save King George Hospital’s A&E.

Meanwhile, London Ambulance Service paramedic Jacqui Duly told members of the joint committee of primary care trusts that the neighbouring A&E cannot cope with demand.

Most Read

She said: “In the last two weeks Queen’s Hospital has been closed to ambulances due to pressure. It’s unsafe for us to take patients there.

“So where will we go? We need to save King George A&E because we need it.”

Barking MP Margaret Hodge said: “I’m going to continue to fight to preserve A&E services at King George Hospital in the new year following the outrageous decision taken this month to downgrade the services it provides.”